Friday, April 2, 2021

April 4 Kickoff for Giant Step Arts & KEYED UP!: Series of Jazz Concerts in Central Park

Artist-focused non-profit Giant Step Arts partners with Jazz Generation's KEYED UP! for new edition of acclaimed concert series Walk With The Wind

Free performances beginning April 4 in Central Park honor legacy of congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis

Featuring Wayne Escoffery/Jeremy Pelt Quartet, William Parker Trio, James Brandon Lewis Freed Style Free Trio, Melissa Aldana Trio, Chris Potter Trio, Antonio Sanchez Trio, Marquis Hill Quartet, Michael Thomas Quartet, Nasheet Waits, Mark Turner, Marika Hughes, and Immanuel Wilkins

"Sitting socially distanced on The Mall and listening to live jazz feels like an optimistic moment...Jimmy Katz and Giant Step Arts are plugging a gap with Walk With The Wind." - Dan Bergsagel, London Jazz News

Giant Step Arts in partnership with Jazz Generation’s KEYED UP! continues the acclaimed performance series Walk With The Wind honoring civil rights activist and congressman John Lewis. The concerts – curated by Jimmy Katz and Nasheet Waits – will take place at pop up locations in New York City’s Central Park.

Shows run from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and feature at least two bands. They will be rescheduled in case of inclement weather.


• Sunday, April 4 – Note new location at The South End of the Mall
11 a.m. – Alto saxophonist Sarah Hanahan, trumpeter Giveton Gelin, bassist Phil Norris, and drummer Robert Lotreck   
1 p.m. – The Wayne Escoffery/Jeremy Pelt Quartet with Dezron Douglas and Johnathan Blake  

• Saturday, April 10
11 a.m. – Alto saxophonist Sarah Hanahan, bassist Phil Norris, and drummer Robert Lotreck 
1 p.m. – William Parker Trio with Cooper Moore and Hamid Drake 

• Sunday, April 11 
11 a.m. – Alto saxophonist Sarah Hanahan, bassist Phil Norris, and drummer Robert Lotreck 
1 p.m. – Melissa Aldana Trio with Pablo Menares and Kush Abadey  

• Saturday, April 17Chris Potter Trio with Joe Martin and Nasheet Waits

• Sunday, April 18Antonio Sanchez Trio with Donny McCaslin and Matt Brewer

• Saturday, April 24Marquis Hill Quartet

• Sunday, April 25Michael Thomas Quartet with Michael Rodriguez, Edward Perez and Johnathan Blake

• Saturday, May 1James Brandon Lewis, Freed Style Free Trio with Rashaan Carter and Chad Taylor; Aaron Burnett Quartet with Peter Evans, Nick Jozwiak, and Tyshawn Sorey

• Saturday, May 8Marika Hughes: The New String Quartet with Hughes, Charlie Burnham, Marvin Sewell, and Rashaan Carter

Other upcoming dates will include bands led by Nasheet Waits, Mark Turner, and Immanuel Wilkins.

“The pandemic has been disastrous for musicians, many of whom normally earn a living through live performances and tours,” says Katz. “We wanted to find a way to continue supporting musicians, bring them together with audiences safely, and enable them to have a payday! Walk with the Wind, honoring the legacy of the great American John Lewis, is one way we are accomplishing this, and the response has been tremendous.”  

The well-received series, which began August 28, 2020 with Wayne Escoffery’s trio, has also featured The Marquis Hill Quartet, the Michael Thomas Trio, Marcus Strickland Trio, the Eric McPherson Trio, the Leap Day Trio and the Joel Ross Quartet. 

Founded by renowned photographers Jimmy and Dena Katz in January 2018, Giant Step Arts is an innovative, artist-focused non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and showcasing the work of innovative modern jazz artists. Giant Step Arts offers musicians the artistic and financial resources to create bold, adventurous new music free of commercial pressure. Giant Step Arts provides promotional material and publicity services, presents premiere performances and compensates artists, records performances for independent release, provides artists with CDs and digital downloads to sell directly, conveys complete ownership of masters to artists, and provides PR support for the recordings. “Giant Step Arts does not sell any music,” Katz says. “Our goals are to help musicians make bold artistic statements and to advance their careers.”

Jazz Generation was founded in 1999 to emphasize the importance of live jazz as an art form and the performing arts as a cultural asset. The Jazz Discovery Program (JDP) and The Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra (JSYO), and since 2014 KEYED UP!, an anti-poverty program, has offered services that support professional jazz artists in their performing careers, revitalize local businesses, and develop a new generation of audiences and performers. KEYED UP! Has quickly become a favorite NYC entity for musicians, audiences, and venues. Operating simultaneously in over 25 partner venues spanning from Jersey City to Boston, KeyedUP! Is proud to keep hundreds of musicians working and thousands of jazz listeners happy at no extra cost to partner venues.